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Play It Again- BookWorthy Chats with Courtney Siebring

BookWorthy with Courtney Siebring
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Valerie - Today, we're talking with Courtney Sebring about her debut children's book, Little Spark of Life. Welcome to Bookworthy, Courtney.


Courtney - Hi Valerie, thanks so much for having me.



Valerie -It is a pleasure to have you. Well, with Halloween being last week,

 how much Halloween candy do you still have in your house?

Courtney -Not much. We're pretty, there's a couple of reasons why. I'm militant about getting it out soon. And I have a daughter who is very, very generous. And so usually the way it goes is she'll go around trick or treating and then she will add a lot of her candy to our bowl to give away to other people. And I support that wholeheartedly.


Valerie -I love that idea. I might have to remember that. It's like, huh, I don't need to buy candy, just repurpose the candy that comes in my home. Too fun. I think last year we had a family that was kind of done with trick-or-treating and they dumped their entire bucket into my kids' bag. And I'm like, oh no, that would be my family.


Courtney - Oh, what are the odds that you'd be that person?


Valerie -Well Courtney, what is your favorite type of candy?


Courtney -Oh, man. What is your favorite type of candy? Well, I love gummy bears. It's such a kid candy, but I do. It's gummy bears and it has been since the beginning.

gummy candy

Valerie -Goodness. Have you seen all the reviews of the Harborough gummy bears online? You'll get a very good laugh. If you search those up, it's very humorous to be like, eat a few at a time, not the whole bag.


Courtney -A few at a time, not the whole batch. Got you, got you. Yeah, and I don't eat them very often, so I will say that.


Valerie -Well, your book, Little Spark of Life, seeks to help parents answer kind of one of the most dreaded parenting questions that come from kids, where do babies come from? How did you choose to tackle this sensitive topic?


Courtney -Well, it came from more of my daughter's fascination with pregnancy and childbirth, something that she's been fascinated with since she was about three years old. So we started very early in our house talking about this topic, which I would highly recommend. I'd highly recommend it not just for the kids, but for the parents when you are still in that stage where

baby hands

you're talking about all of the things. You know, kids have questions about all sorts of bodily functions and anything. So when you're still in that stage where you're still really comfortable talking about these things, that's when I would start. I mean, age-appropriate, obviously, and each parent knows their child best. Um, but yeah, it more came, the book itself, Little Spark of Life, came from my daughter's fascination. And then also it came from my husband and I doing some research on the local pro-life community that we were involved in. And there's that element to it as well.


Valerie - I think your book does a great job of engaging a kid's curiosity. Because, yeah, when they're even at any age, they're just like, even at three with your daughter, there's just like, why, what, where? Those are those constant questions kids have. And I think, like you said if we start these conversations earlier in an age-appropriate way that in an age-appropriate way, that they're comfortable with these topics and discussing these topics with us. Yes. As they get older and things get stickier and things get harder, they're still why and what. Our kids are comfortable with these topics and discussing these topics with us. So as they get older and things get stickier and things get harder, they're still mom, why? And mom, what? And still, you're that welcoming conversation. So you said you talked about, what is it? Some of your pre-born, not pre-born, pro-life activity in your community. Kind of what is the story that led you to engage in that community and write this book?


Courtney - Great question and it's an unusual story, to be honest. So, we fostered and adopted our daughter and so the pro-life message and topic was a part of our story early on. However, it wasn't until our daughter was about four years old, that the story goes like this. We were on a trip in our camper. We took a month-long trip from Nova Scotia down to Florida. A few weeks into that trip, after we put our daughter to bed, my husband and I found ourselves in


separate areas of this 24-foot camper. So he was up front and I was in the back and we were just on our phones. And so after three or four evenings of this, we checked in with each other. We call it being lost in the vortex. Like, are you lost in the vortex? Are you okay? You know, just accountability checking in. Come to find out separately, unbeknownst to the other person, we were watching videos by organizations like Live Action. We were listening to talks by people like Kristen Hawken from Students for Life. We were just educating ourselves on different pro-life apologetics and even legislation, Canada versus the United States. We were living in Canada at the time and we were shocked at what we discovered. And when you read about these things and when you see some of these things, you cannot get them out of your mind. And at that point we said, okay, well, it's not an accident that we're, you know, both researching this at the same time. What are we gonna do about it? And sort of our next step was to become involved in the pro-life movement in our local community, which was Halifax, Nova Scotia at the time. And so I sort of combined, it was shortly after that actually, that trip that I started writing the first manuscript for Little Spark of Life. So I more or less combined my daughter's natural curiosity for where do babies come from, her obsession really, if I'm honest, with my newfound sort of, what do I say, like passion for the pro-life message.


Valerie -I love that. And I think your book does an amazing job of talking about birth from, or you know, baby from conception being uniquely formed and purposefully made as, you know, walking this sibling through what's going on and as the baby develops. And I think that does a great job of just communicating in a very healthy and kid-appropriate way that life starts right at the beginning and it's beautiful how you have done that. What does your daughter think about this book?


Courtney -Thank you. She's excited. It's our book, you know, as far as she's concerned. You know, I read her some drafts. So, I mean, I wrote it, I started writing it when she was four. She just turned nine. I did put it away for quite some time, which is another story in terms of when the opportunity came about to publish the book. But when I did get it out again dust it off and start reworking it. I mean, she was part of the process from the beginning and she's very much a visual artist. And so her being part, I think the part of the process that she was the most excited about was helping to choose the illustrator. And it was so cool for me to open up these different illustrator's portfolios and say to her, look, this is what these people do. This is their job. Let's hire one.


Valerie - I love that it's fun to introduce our kids to new types of careers and new types of, you know, that they can use their talents and their passions and their loves to be a career because there's a lot of, you know, the world kind of puts into our mind that, no, you have to be successful. You have to have a desk job. You have to do this and that. And it's you know, the world kind of puts into our minds that no, you have to be successful, you have to have a desk job, you have to do this and that. Yeah. And it's not true, God uses us in so many different ways and even in your own life, you have, was it you have a background in theater making and you work as a voiceover artist. Mm-hmm. And you know, how did you get into that? Interestingly, we're talking about, you know, It's not true. God uses us in so many different ways. And even in your own life, you have, what is it? You have a background in theater making and you work as a voiceover artist. And how did you get into those types of careers?



Courtney -Kids and introducing them to interesting jobs and encouraging their passions. Because when I think about where I am now and what God has me doing now, it is very much connected back to what I was into when I was a child. And I think, you know, I mean, I vividly remember writing stories in my room when I was six years old and started doing voiceover when I was three, which is another story. And I did it for a few years. My brother and I both did voiceover for I don't know, four or five years, and our family moved. And when we moved, that kind of went off the table for a while. But I stayed in touch with the gentleman with whom we did the voiceover. And in my mid to late 20s, I picked it up again and he was the first person that I called, all right, how do I set up a studio in my home? And anyway, he's my longest friendship, I say. I've known him since I was three. But anyway, there's that. And then, yeah, like I said, writing stories. I wrote poetry all through junior high and high school and majored in English in theater. And so It started when I was very young, both the voiceover and the writing, and I've just kind of come full circle with them. So I think it's really important that you know, we as parents encourage our children in their passion, but also ourselves that we don't necessarily buy into. You have to do one thing or you have to do whatever, fill in the blank. It's a journey and you're gonna end up where you're gonna end up and it's gonna be God's plan and God's timing.


Little Spark of Life Review

Valerie -I love that. And it's a big part of my story too. And I love how even in your book, Little Spark of Life, you talk about how God is working everything together and building this little person with their interests and what their hair color is going to be and just how God is putting them together, knitting them together in the mother's womb as the sibling is preparing to also become a big sister or brother. The and I think the world wants to think that we're hardwired for one thing, but God is so creative and so generous in His giftings that He just wants us to honor Him in whatever we do.


Courtney -Absolutely. Even in this book talking about a newborn baby and preparing for a newborn baby, those types of messages are also woven in. Thank you. Yeah, purposeful in doing that. You know, I wanted children to understand, obviously, the process from conception to birth. But more than the process, it's the value. It's that this is a whole person. And even part of writing the book for me was preserving language. That a baby is a baby. And, you know, I love this quote from a book called books that build character by William Kilpatrick and Suzanne Wolfe. It says,

if you as a parent don't take steps to educate your child, it's an almost sure bet that educates your child's imagination, it's almost sure bet that his imagination will be seduced by the culture.

And so part of talking about this in a bit of course sort of way is to capture our children's imagination and to educate their imagination at a very young age so that when they are faced with the realities of the world in terms of how for some people children aren't valued and not every life is valued by all people that will shock them. that will have a very big impact on them because it doesn't fit in with their, but of course it is this way kind of paradigm, right? That they've been raised in.


Valerie -Right. Yeah, it's important for us as parents to take the time to inform and encourage their curiosity and to be the person that our kids come to with questions and to be that person that helps guide them towards the worldview that has been a blessing to us in our faith and our love of God and love of scripture that they can see the benefits of having that similar worldview because the world is going to throw lots of curveballs at them and to say the baby is not valuable. They so are. And even in people who have made choices that lean against babies being, you know, unique and full, you know, baby's a baby, you know. In the offset, they usually are like, that was a baby. That was, no matter how they came to that decision, it impacted their soul. And to see that on the other side, there can be healing from those decisions as well. And that God is gracious in those choices too.


Courtney - Absolutely. I'm really blessed to know a woman, a friend of mine from my church,

A Merciful Grace Cover

and she recently wrote a book as well. And hers is a memoir and it's called A Merciful Grace. And it's about her coming to the Lord post-abortion and just his grace and him basically. So she and I have the pleasure of doing a book signing together. We're doing a joint event here in Colorado Springs. So, I'm just, it's on topic. So I thought that I would mention that, you know, there are people that are speaking out about those experiences and the regret, but also the redemption that they have found in Christ on the other side. Thank you for mentioning it.


Valerie -Thank you for mentioning that book. That's a side of the story that we as adults need to hear also. And I love that you and your friend got to kind of get both sides of the story in one book signing. That's super fun. Now, did you always want to be an author, Courtney?


Courtney- I think I always wanted to be a writer. I always wanted to be an artist. So it's, you know, I was like, how far back do I go? The ripple in the pond, you know? So I'd say like big, big picture Umbrella, I always knew that I was an artist and I think that everything that I have You know dip my toes into be it theater making or voiceover or writing poetry or now writing children's books. It all kind of falls under that heading I've always loved to write. I did not always know that I would be a children's author I've certainly written more poetry than I have children's books. Although this book, I mean, started as a poem. You know, it's written in verse and so there's crossover there. Yeah. So fun. Good children's books often are in rhyme and verse. I guess the sing-song nature of it and the way that it connects with kids. Yeah. I just, the words, the rhythm.


Valerie -So fun and was it good children's books often are in rhyme and verse just because of the sing-song nature of it and the way that it connects with kids not just the words but the rhythm and the consistency and just allows them to connect even more with good stories. So I think that's neat that God is continually working on you to get you to a place of creativity. What is the most impactful book in your life, Courtney, other than the Bible?


Courtney -Okay, can't say the Bible. You know what, I've been thinking lately, I don't do superlatives, it is so hard for me, the most or the favorite, but I have been thinking about books that have impacted my life and you know we talked earlier about how we need to realize we're not made to be just one thing. And part of this journey, this author journey for me, has been kind of bucking against this branding yourself, or yeah, what's your brand, what's your niche? One of the first poets that I started reading when I was in high school was Walt Whitman, and particularly Leaves of Grass. And the stanza, the phrase that keeps coming back to my mind over the last week has been, do I contradict myself? Very well, then I

Questions About Angels Cover

contradict myself. I am wide, I contain multitudes, something to that effect. And I've been thinking, yeah, Walt, I contain multitudes. Don't try to put me in a box. So I would say Leaves of grass, yeah, that collection of poetry has had a really big impact on my life. Also later on in my life I picked up or was introduced to Billy Collins and his book, I believe it's Questions for Angels. Oh man, the introduction to Billy Collins was, yeah, huge for me. Huge. Love his poetry.


Valerie -I like the attitude you're coming as bucking the system. Because there is, as an author or probably even as a voice actor, everything wants you to have this platform, have this stance. We are bigger than that. I think Walt had it right. We are a multitude of things. Too fun. Well, what is your favorite children's book, Courtney?


Courtney -Again, this one's hard. My daughter and I love William Steig. And I'd say one of our favorite William Steig books is Dr. DeSoto. I mean, he's known for Sylvester and the Magic

Dr. DeSoto Cover

Pebble and I think Brave Irene, but I didn't know Dr. De Soto in my childhood. I discovered it once I became a parent. I love him because the characters are really fun and well-developed, but mostly I like them because he dives deep into language. His language is rich. The vocabulary is there. It's not dumbed down. Sometimes I feel like children's books just don't give our kids enough credit. Going back to that curiosity, they want to know why. What does that word mean? And I think a great way to do that is to add rich language and an imaginative language word picture. So, he does that. We love the book Dr. DeSoto by William Steig.


Valerie - So fun. I agree with you on that. Introducing complex words to kids is a great way to help enrich their vocabulary and to embrace that curiosity. I read it once, I think somewhere that a kid that mispronounces a word is a kid that probably read the word rather than heard the word. Encourage my kids to continue reading and challenging new words and if they mispronounce something be like, huh, where did you hear that word? I haven't heard that word before. And to just embrace that curiosity and that desire to learn that our kids have. They want to know all the things. Well, what can we expect next from you, Courtney?


Courtney -Well, I mean, there are more there are more books in the works. But expect next for me. You know, I've been thinking lately about some projects that I want to do, and they have to do with building community. I've been dreaming about living room theater and I've been dreaming about poetry around the dining room table. So there's an organization here in Colorado Springs called the Anselm Society and they are a group of artists who are also Christians and they champion these intimate personal experiences. And I want more of that in my life. So I don't know what form that will take quite yet. Yes, that plus more children's books and hopefully poetry coming your way.


Valerie -I love that idea of building a community around creativity and expression. I think that we get very isolated in our modern culture and want to lean in and be able to express ourselves in the unique ways that God has designed us from the beginning, right? So I love and look forward to hearing more of where you go, what to do next, and what books come your way. Thank you. Where can other people find out more about you and your books?


Courtney- They need to go to And there's lots of information there about me, my illustrator, and events that are coming up.


Valerie - I hope people will check you out and see all the fun that you've been having both on Instagram and online too. So it's been a joy to kind of search you out and to learn more about you too. So it's a pleasure having you here.


Courtney -Thanks so much, Valerie. It's a pleasure having you here. Thank you, a pleasure being here.


Valerie - And thank you for joining Courtney and me on this episode of the Bookworthy Podcast. Check out the show notes for any books or links that we discussed. Then let us know in the comments about your favorite Halloween candies. Don't forget to hit the like and subscribe button to help us discover more great books together.

Happy reading.


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